A new data visualization released today on the first day of the plenary negotiations at the UNFCCC’s COP-19 in Warsaw pushes policymakers to respond to a new narrative on climate change.
The question of how the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments are used at the UNFCCC climate negotiations is at the heart of how we as a society confront the implications of climate change.
Produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia, and funded by the UN Foundation, the 3-minute film uses stunning visuals to unravel exactly what the IPCC’s climate probability ranges mean for societies. It concludes that if the world wants a “likely” chance (66-100%) of remaining within the 2 degree Celsius target set by international policymakers, then we can only emit around 250 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. Given emissions are currently around 10 billion tonnes a year and rising, this give societies about 25 years. Large emissions cuts will increase the chances of remaining below two degrees, and extend the time before breaching this budget.
“We wanted to communicate the scale humanity is now operating on. This brings new risks,” said Owen Gaffney, IGBP’s director of communications and producer of the data visualization.
“The film summarises the key findings from the latest IPCC report in a way that makes sense of the jargon. It’s clear that if societies are serious about keeping below 2 degrees, emissions must start falling rapidly. But emissions are rising not falling,” he added.